By Carolynn Wall
We all have a love/hate relationship with Georgia weather, but one thing we can all agree on is when it gets hot, it’s hot. On the rare weekend without football, a concert or a trip back home, students seek ways to cool off and relax after a stressful week of classes.
UGA is just a few miles from the Broad River, the 60-mile tributary of the Savannah River. The Broad River Outpost, or “BRO,” is located just 23 miles from downtown Athens. They have been the original outfitter on the Broad since 1980. They offer kayak and canoe rentals, a five- or 10-mile scenic float for a more tranquil ride and a six-mile white water section for the adrenaline junkies.
Want to make a weekend out of it? The BRO even offers camping sites to make your stay last as long as desired with access to fire pits, picnic tables and hot showers. Plus, you won’t even have to worry about cooking, as the BRO houses the Wildcat Grill. There you can grab a BROburger, a SKINNYDIP salad, a KAYAKdog and more.
Junior finance major Aidan Rogers from Dunwoody has kayaked down the Broad on two occasions and says, “They were both pretty fun and great team bonding activities. There are a lot of cool places to stop and check out along the river. My favorite was Hippo Rock, which was this huge rock that we could all put our kayaks up on to. Towards the edge of the rock there’s a hole on the top of it where you can get in, go underwater, and swim out from the side.”
Looking for something a little closer to home? Don’t worry, the Big Dog’s On the River are right in your backyard. Founded in 2010 and located on the Middle Oconee River, the Big Dog’s On the River are approximately four miles away from downtown Athens, so basically you can roll out of bed and be on the river in about 10 minutes. From there, you grab your kayak and hop into the river for a three and a half mile long ride. “One of the things that makes us so desirable is our location,” owner Terry Stephens says. “You can be out in the water and back to downtown Athens in just 10 minutes.” You might want to consider this close-to-home destination for when it warms back up though because their season runs from May through the beginning of football season.
When you get back, you are greeted with a cabana that offers grills, restrooms, picnic tables, satellite TV, volleyball, yard games and even live music on some weekends. “We have lots of groups come through for team bonding from UGA Mens Tennis, UGA Track and Field and some of the football team,” Stephens says.
We’re lucky to be in a city that has the urban vibes to party on Friday nights and the natural scenes to kayak down a river on Saturday afternoon. Both the BRO and the Big Dog’s On the River offer affordable and fun ways for team bonding, social events or even just a lazy day with your best friends. So stop fearing the heat, grab a paddle and get on the river.